World Progress Report Promotes Program About 'Scams'; Helps Hide All The Complaints That It's A Scam

from the seo-tactics dept

We recently pointed out that the latest name for Vision Media TV appeared to be World Progress Report, and it appeared to be doing the same thing that it has been heavily criticized for by both the New York Times and NPR. Basically, it’s the same deal: they hire a semi-famous retired news person (such as Walter Cronkite, Hugh Downs and Joan Lunden) and get them to film a generic “opening” to a “report” about some organization (usually a non-profit), with the claim that such programs will appear on “public television.” Then they approach the non-profits about having a news segment done about them (heavily name dropping the current “star”) for “public television.” Then they drop the news that the organization needs to pay the “production costs,” which run anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. A poorly edited clip is filmed, which never airs on PBS. In fact, PBS has put a warning on its website specifically calling out the company under various names and suggesting if you’re contacted by any of them to notify PBS so it can complain:

PBS wishes to clarify that it is not associated with and does not endorse, distribute programming for, review underwriting for or otherwise have any business relationship with the following production companies: American Artists Television, American Review TV, Business Break TV, Business Trends, Eco Planet TV, Event Media TV, Evergreen Entertainment, Family Television Studios, Food For Thought TV, Giving Back, Global Television Studios, Great America (with Hugh Downs), Healthy Path, Heroes of Hope, Infinity Media Group, Insights, Paradigm Media Group, Platinum Group, PMG, PMGTV, Roadshow Productions, United Media Communications Group, Vision Media, Vision Media Television, VM Television, VT Media, VT Media Productions, or World Progress Report (with Joan Lunden). PBS does not oversee the production or distribution of any programs associated with any of these companies.

If you are solicited by a production company that claims or implies an association with PBS, please notify PBS.

However, one of the oddities about World Progress Report was the fact that it was putting out a bunch of press releases promoting a program on “scams.” While at first people thought this was just irony, Paul Levy notes that it seems to have the effect of burying any Google results that call World Progress Report a “scam.”

By this new strategy, World Progress Report is loading up the search results both for its own name, and for its name combined with the word “scam,” with reports about its supposed public television programming. As a result, the information that impartial critics are calling it a scam are being buried in a welter of search results for its own self-promotion.

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Companies: pbs, vision media tv, world progress report

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Comments on “World Progress Report Promotes Program About 'Scams'; Helps Hide All The Complaints That It's A Scam”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Trade mag/news scam

This is pretty typical in the trade mag space as well, though slightly different. You say you’re going to write an article on a company but request either that they buy overpriced advertising in the story, or that they hand over a list of their business associates that are then aggressively hit up for this as well. I was briefly involved with one of these companies until I realized what they were all about.

All it took was me mistakenly coming across their “circulation numbers” (they only send the quarterly mags to subjects of the stories and the advertisers) and I was outta there….

Cenk (profile) says:

World Progress Report

I was called one day by someone from the “World Progress Report” and told about how I could get coverage on PBS about a type of alternative medical practice that is becoming popular that I am interested in. Then they wanted a fee of about $23,000 plus $3,500 for an on location shoot to produce the 3 minute video that would be aired on TV in all 50 states. My neighbors told me this sounded like a scam. Public TV told me that they never charge money for an interview and that World Progress report was a scam. They are still trying to collect money from me right now. I have filed several compliants in the State of Florida and else where about World Progress Report. I do not know how they got my name in the first place.

Deborah Wong, MD (profile) says:

joan lunden healthwise

I received a phone call from a gentleman who stated his name was Bruce Blake and that he was THE producer of Healthwise MD hosted by Joan Lunden on PBS. Spent almost an hour on the phone with him. I am a physician who practices integrative and anti aging medicine, he said Healthwise MD was doing a 15 part series on anti aging, bioidentical hormones, integrative medicine, and that my name came up via Web MD. Bottom line, several different things he is doing in connection w/ the series, said would send application, if i qualify and he assured me that if “everything checks out” he would highly recommend me and that basically if he recommends the individual, board gives him an automatic go.
I was very excited for this opportunity to be a part of really getting the word out there as i am passionate about this MD supervised, advanced wellness and mostly natural approach to preserving quality of life and vitality until our last day of life. It is cutting edge now, very slowly being accepted by mainstream, traditional medicine; ins. co’s won’t support this, even though it has now been well proven/researched/highly reputable and most of all effective and natural approach which allows individuals to enjoy a great quality of the second half of their lives. Just to get the message out there, that alone made me feel even more inspired. he stated the program would air 65 times, 20-22 times/mo also 6-8 min piece on internet; also 1 min piece “commercial” on OWN,Fox News. Estimated 71 million viewers. Also something he termed “narrow casting” something about involving a focused audience with moderate based referrals, gave a number of 50-60 billion. Sounded very exciting as this is real science and it truly is life changing, i have seen it in action, personally with my patients. Of course i was thinking wow, maybe they’ll even compensate me, how cool would that be, but just like an infomercial at the end, after emphasizing how many people this would drive to my website (still under development, to be up soon), he said for all the traffic it will drive to my website, also would get a hard copy of the identity tape, book and promotion, all this for a one time fee of 22,000 which after misc. fees totals to only $26,400.
So, is this for real, and usually the way it works is that producers recruit and pay the people they wish to appear on their show. Please advise.
Thank you.
Deborah Wong, MD

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: joan lunden healthwise

Dr. Wong, If you’re affiliated with a hospital or university, please consult the media relations staff there. I’m afraid this is an increasingly well-known scam. Google “joan lunden and vision media” or “world progress report and joan lunden” or an earlier incarnation of the program “hosted” by Hugh Downs. I’m sorry to tell you, since you were clearly excited by the possibility.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: joan lunden healthwise

A TOTALSCAM!! Now they call themselves

Everyone is afraid of them. They have so much money, we fear for our lives to speak illly of them, but can’t get the Feds Involved, maybe because they have been paid off, who knows… The owners own Churches and call themselves Christians, but they are anything but! I wish I could find a lawyer to take them down – take the case on a contingent basis. It is so against anything I stand for.

Anonymous Coward says:


Not saying its the same thing, but the bait is the same woman ((Joan Lunden) and the lead-in is that this is a documentary series, and at the end there is a switch to a $20,000+ fee to help underwrite this programming, necessary to underwrite the costs of their good work, since they don’t charge PBS, essentially.

Donalds (user link) says:

This program is BIG 2011.


I Think this program is BIG SCAM…in 2011. These people just mint the money from people LIKE U & ME. Here is my Own experience after joining this program. First, I joined as an affiliate and thinking that I am receiving commission $0.10 for each Click. I TRUSTED & joined for “Form Filling Job” on APRIL-26th-2011. I paid $10 for “Form Filling Job” & These people send me the details about the “Adposting Job” they send me an Email with Pdf files & steps along with few FREE classified websites to advertise their website & my affiliate weblink.
– See how clever these people are they just wanted to advertise their website first & then our affliate link at the bottom. But most of the VISITERS just click on the website But not on our affiliate links. So, we Lose those affiliate commissions.
– But, my main councern is about the way this program works…”How can these people send me “Adposting Job” if I PAID for “Form Filling Job”?
– I send an email immidetly about this to their Support link they provided “” & “” on 29th April 2011 but till date 3rd MAY 2011 no reply email from these support people. I even raised a Support ticket from the “” for HELP about this ISSUE…HUh! No Reply…
– I subscribed at the link provided at “”. I also have the PROOF of all the Sent EMails, My Order ID for the “”Form Filling Job”.
– We work for all day just posting our affiliate links & finally NO MONEY….at the end of the month…we just see the commision date in our account…But not into our POCKET…:(
– Please alert all your friends who joined this program or you are WORKING for Nothing..RIGHT?
– If you Don’t TRUST me just send a request email for HELP for the program you are working from your END.

Clif says:

Re: Apparently yet a new name for these guys

I and my wife were hounded by these scam artists as well. Unfortunately we had already signed a contract with them before learning of this scam when they were called, World Progress Report. This was 2 years ago, we never paid them because we came upon hard times, we then learned that they were a scam so we just ignored them. A lawyer representing World View Productions just contacted us on their behalf about the contract and none payment. Theses guys stop at nothing. Any advice on what we can do to get them off our backs?

Carlson Yamamoto (profile) says:

Re: Re: Apparently yet a new name for these guys

Please contact me at I will provide you with the Attorney at PBS, Joan Lundens Staff, Florida Attorney General Office, and much more which should be able to assist you. I was also a victim recently of this scam and will do my best to help you and anyone that was victimized.

sucker (user link) says:

The Journal

Linda Galen 561-353-9066 X197 contacted me and kept me on the phone for an hour getting me all excited about how I was going to have to scale my company up and stuff. Same old story…glad I found this article…not that I have that kind of money laying around…. but it sounded like it would be my big break and I’d be raking it in!

Thank you for easing my mind on this.

GEinLA (profile) says:


They have also purchased a staggering number of domain names, started a Facebook and a Google +, and even made themselves a Wikipedia entry in an effort to appear legitimate, but be assured, In Focus with Martin Sheen is a SCAM. Repeat, InFocus with Martin Sheen is a scam! Not a report on a scam, and ACTUAL scam. Do not give money to Public Television Distributors, Inc and their show, they guarantee you nothing as return on a more than $20,000 investment.

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